Recording Songs - Learn How To Record A Song
Once you have the basics of your song down (chord progressions, melodies, lyrics, song structure etc) It's time to get recording. Recording can be stressful; sometimes it may take you hours of playing the same riff, or singing one single line, constantly trying to get that illusive perfect take.
The secret to recording songs is to not give up, keep pushing yourself to do better. That's what a music producer would be telling you to do so that is what you must tell yourself to do!
Remember when recording at home you not only have to wear the musicians' hat but also the sound engineer and music producer hat. This can get tough but don't worry; no-one ever said it was going to be easy.
Your main goal is to get a great. This will make your life easier later for when you go to edit, mix and master so it's worth putting the effort in at the start.
Lets take a look at the recording process, step by step, instrument by instrument.
Creating A Recording Session Template
When it comes to recording songs the first thing to do is set up a template in your sequencer software (pro tools, cubase etc.) The reason for doing this is it means every time you start your sessions you have all your instruments, tracks and settings already set up.
This saves a lot of time in the long run. To keep things simple I'm going to show you how to do this using pro tools as it's probably the most widely used home recording software.
Click here for the guide on setting up your pro tools template.
Once you set up your template then your ready to start recording.
The Order For Recording Your Instruments
The order in which you record is totally up to yourself. The more you record the more you will start to find your own ways of doing things but for the benefit of this tutorial I'm going to show you how I do it.
This is the order in which I record a song.
- Rhythm Guitar
- Lead Guitar
- Guitar Fills
- Piano/Synths/Percussion/Backing Vocals etc.
1. Recording Drums
So drums is done first. This gives you a back beat to lay the rest of your tracks down on top of. The first thing to do is get the tempo of your song. Once you have the tempo of your track set it in pro tools. This gives you a click track to play along to, keeping all your tracks in time.
Recording a drum kit is probably one of the hardest things to get right in the recording studio. It takes a lot of experience to know how to get the best sound possible from a drum kit.
2. Recording Rhythm Guitar
With the drum track down it's now time to lay the rhythm guitar track. Most of the time I just record a rough rhythm guitar track first. This just gives you something to work to and lets you know where the different sections etc.
To get a great recording of the electric guitar it's important to get an understanding of how it works and to best capture the sound it produces.
3. Recording Bass Guitar
Once you have a scratch track down off the rhythm guitar my advice is to lay down a solid bass line. The bass line, along with the drum track will form the foundation of your song.
If you want to get a grip with the basics of recording the bass guitar then read this article.
4. Recording Vocals
Getting the perfect vocal take can take some time. A lot of times you will need to take multiple takes and then take the best lines from each take and put them together as one single track.
To produce a good audio recording, you will need to consider a multitude of factors including: equipment, vocals, environment and location.
Mastering home music recording can be a long and strenuous journey with a very steep learning curve. The secret to recording songs is to stick with it and keep pushing your limits.